About 900 million years ago, a black hole probably swallowed a dead star. Last week, the resulting waves in space and time were finally discovered on Earth.
If these scientific observations are confirmed, the cosmic collision would be the first example of a collision of a black hole with a neutron star, potentially providing new insights into the matter's expansion of the universe.
In April, gravitational wave observatories in the US and Europe revived the search for extreme cosmic events. Meanwhile, astronomers have discovered 23 potential events, but the latest would be the first of its kind.
The event, named S1
– LIGO (@LIGO) August 17, 2019
A neutron star is created after a supernova explosion and is extremely small and dense. It consists mainly of densely packed neutrons. An average neutron star is about 1.5 times the mass of the Sun but has a radius of only 6 to 12 miles.
There have been three similar events in recent months, but it is possible that it was "noise". rather than real events. In the case of S190814bv, scientists said that the likelihood that the signal is a false alarm is billions of years.
Although these were the most confident scientists, they are still calling for caution until the event is confirmed. For example, the collision could have consisted of two merging black holes – still an exciting discovery of a black hole that is lighter than ever.
"There is a slight but intriguing possibility that the swallowed object was a very bright black hole – much easier than any other black hole we know of in the universe," said Professor Susan Scott, director of the Department of General Theory of Relativity and Data Analysis Group at the Australian National University and Chief Investigator at the ARC Center of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery. "That would be a really great consolation prize."
Astronomers are now working to confirm the size of the two objects that collided to form the cosmic waves. They also scan the area with telescopes in which they believe the event has occurred, in search of light emitted by the merger.
LIGO first discovereda century after Albert Einstein's prediction of its existence with its general theory of relativity.
black holes and merge, but never an interaction between the two. The confirmation of the collision would complete a trifecta of cosmic discoveries.
"We'll either see a neutron star being torn from a black hole or Pac-Man swallowing a ghost," said Simon Stevenson, an astronomer with Swinburne University of Technology in Australia. "In any case, a show awaits us!"